current exhibition

Press Release Archive




Gallery Project
215 South Fourth Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48104, 734-997-7012
Contact: (734) 668-6507


Dates: January 6-February 12, 2006
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, noon-6 pm; Friday and Saturday, noon-9 pm; Sunday noon-4 pm.
Opening Reception: Friday, January 6, 6-9 pm.



December 3, 2005 – The word icon comes from the Greek eikon, or "image." From its beginnings in Eastern Orthodoxy as a description of a simple object of religious reverence, the word has evolved to achieve a place in our contemporary, secular consciousness. Wikipedia tells us an icon is "...used, particularly in modern popular culture, in the general sense of symbol, i.e., a name, face, picture or a person readily recognized as having some well-known significance." This definition describes the inspiration for "American Icons" opening January 6 at Gallery Project.


In this exhibition, curated by Judith Jacobs and Ben Van Dyke, the artists use popular icons as a means of interpreting contemporary American society in a variety of deeply personal ways. Reflecting pessimism over the country's political and commercial direction and re-examining our traditional values, many of these works demonstrate a sense of irony and cynicism. Dustin Ogdin interprets a baseball game as a scene of eroticized violence in his digital prints. Jack Summers's assemblages use superheroes and public personalities to merge the political with the pop worlds in bitter commentaries on the use of power. Bask makes use of a city's decaying street detritus, looking for conspiracies within the popular iconography of the mass media. Other artists portray familiar mainstays of American life in a more positive light: Judith Jacobs's digital prints use Crackerjack and Coca Cola labels to celebrate the bright graphics of commercial America. Dan Price's sculptures give a postmodern twist to familiar product containers like a ketchup bottle and a can of Comet cleanser. Finally, in his two linocuts, John Bergmeier invokes the earliest use of the word. He says, "I do enjoy the satirical aspect of juxtaposing some...current icons with those that are established in other areas of history, i.e., the early Christian Church....In the two pieces [selected for this exhibit], the candy wrapper icons are used as symbolic references to that which can be perceived as temptations and items contrary to a healthy (read religious) lifestyle and purpose."


A full list of the exhibit's artists follows:
Antonio "Shades" Agee, Bask, Kristin Beaver, John Bergmeier, Luke Engel, Brandon Gheen, Dick Goody, Matthew Gordon, Meghan Hartwig, Scott Hocking, Judith Jacobs, Dustin Ogdin, Teresa Petersen, Dan Price, Clinton Snider, Jack Summers, Tom Thewes, and Peter Williams.


Internationally-acclaimed composer Michael Daugherty will perform at 7:30 at the opening reception. "Like the energy that radiates from the icons housed in our...museums and art galleries, Michael Daugherty's music successfully releases the poetic power of American icons."